Tuesday, April 28, 2015

(29) Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Have Tragic Backstories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who... (and you got to fill in the blank with anything you wanted). So I chose to feature books with characters who have tragic backstories.

And I'm not talking about a simple death of a loved one (which IS tragic, don't get me wrong). But I'm talking TRAGIC. Like Awful, horrible, can't believe something like this would ever happen to someone, tragic. Shakespearean tragic. Backstories that are not just heartbreaking, but soul-breaking.

1. Ten Tiny Breaths
Kacey lost everyone she loved in one night, except for her little sister. That is some seriously messed up shit, and it breaks her. But she's made of steel, and her journey was absolutely wonderful to watch unfold.

2. The Sea of Tranquility
This book. This booooooook. Soul-crushing yet hopeful and healing at the same time. These two characters went through SO much, so much pain and hurt, but it was worth it for that ending. What a brilliant story.

3. Hopeless
This woman is the QUEEN of tragic, but this one definitely hit me harder than the rest. What happened to Sky was awful. And once you read the second book, you find out even more that will hurt your heart.

4. Finnikin of the Rock
I'm kind of sad this is the only fantasy on my list, but yeah talk about a tragic backstory. What happened to the kingdom, to the characters, to the people of Lumatere. It all just makes you appreciate the ending.

5. I'll Meet You There
It is no secret how broken a character Josh is. His chapters slayed me, tore out my heart and left it bleeding on the floor. But the book stitched me back up again, and healed both myself and the characters.

6. The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden
You think Colleen Hoover is tragic? You haven't read this book. It was just... crazy how both of the main characters had such awful pasts, ones that neither believe they can escape from. And that ending? OH. MY. GOD.

7. Wind Chime Cafe
Without saying much, this one definitely tugged at my heartstrings. Books with characters who suffer from PTSD especially touch my heart. But this was also really wonderful and full of healing.

8. The Deep End of the Sea
I actually didn't know Medusa's story (or and I don't know how close this book's story-line is to it), but oh man is it bad. She was unfairly and harshly treated, and I had so much sympathy for this young woman and her story.

9. Angelfall
Penryn is so damn strong. I don't know if I could do the things she does or be able to keep myself together for my family. She's dealing with SO much, but she's also brave and stoic and her love for her mother and sister is huge.

10. Killing Sarai
Sarai goes through so much in this story, it's a wonder she doesn't break down and give up. She takes control of her life, says fuck you to her past and to the people who almost ruined her, and finds her place.

*****

Books like these hurt my soul, but the journeys and the character growth are worth it. And I just absolutely adore reading about people who overcome their tragedies, their pain and grief and hurt and fear. Who take hold of their lives and find the will to keep going. They are inspiring! <3

So if you like crying, I'd recommend any one of these books above. Haha. Also, off the top of your head, what is the most tragic-filled book you've read? I always want more recs that'll break my heart! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

(28) Top Ten All-Time Favorite Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors!

1. Nora Roberts
I've read: Way too many to count.
Haven't read: Way too many to count. Haha.

I love this woman's books! I love her contemporaries, her mysteries, her fantasy (especially her fantasy). The Circle Trilogy is still my all-time favorite series, and I've reread the books 3x. THAT is how much I love it. But I also just enjoy reading her novels. :)


2. Colleen Hoover
I've read: All but...
Haven't read: This Girl, Never Never, and Maybe Not.

Colleen Hoover is one of my top auto-buy authors. It doesn't matter what she writes, I WILL READ IT! This woman is a genius, and I love her stories. Not to mention, she is one hell of a funny and kind person (just from the way she uses social media). AND SHE'S GOING TO BE AT BEA SO I CAN FINALLY MEET HER!


3. Chelsea Fine
I've read: EVERYTHING!
Haven't read: all of her unfinished works and yet-to-be-published novels (but you could just send them to me anyway, Chelsea, and my life would be complete even though the manuscripts aren't).

Ever since The Archers of Avalon series, I have devoured her books! And now I am all OUT. THIS SADDENS ME. Gah, it's been way too long since I've read a Chelsea Fine book. But it's okay, I can relive it all through friends WHO ARE GOING TO BE PUSHED REPEATEDLY UNTIL THEY PICK UP ONE OF HER BOOKS. I pushed Kaitlin to read Best Kind of Broken, and she loved it enough to rate it 5 stars! <--The proudest moment of my life.


4. Carla Neggers
Read: Um...
Haven't read: Very few.

I was on a mystery/thriller kick in high school, and Carla Neggers was one of my go-to authors. I destroyed her backlist quickly (though I do have a few left to read), but I'm definitely loving her latest a lot! They're more adult contemporaries than murdering villain-type of books, but they're still good.


5. Rachel Harris
I've read: IT ALL.
Haven't read: The Natural History of Us (because it's not out yet). Oh, and Charlie's book (which also is not out or finished yet, I believe).

I adore this woman's books! She can sure write. Rachel was the first author whose street team I joined. Not only is she an amazing writer, but she's one of the sweetest people I've ever "met" in life. Being a part of the Flirt Squad has been one of my favorite moments of blogging and really helped me feel welcome in this community.


6. K.A. Tucker
I've read: Every single book except...
Haven't read: Five Ways to Fall! (And of course, Chasing River, but it's not out yet sadly).

It is no secret (unless you have somehow missed all of my praise concerning K.A.) that I love this author. Ten Tiny Breaths will remain one of my all-time favorite books, and it means SO much to me! She is one seriously talented writer, and I can't wait for MORE MORE MORE. (I even got Kaitlin to read her books too. Man, I'm on a roll).


7. Nina Lane
I've read: Spiral of Bliss series and Break the Sky.
Haven't read: Erotic Dark.

The Spiral of Bliss series is like the only books where I didn't mind that all of them were about the same couple. I adored this series, Liv and Dean, and their rocky road to a better and stronger marriage. And how they loved each other? Hell, it makes me want a relationship like that. They fit like puzzle pieces.


8. Kasie West
I've read: Pivot Point, The Distance Between Us, and The Fill-In Boyfriend.
Haven't read: On the Fence and Split Second.

If it's a Kasie West book, there is a guarantee I'll add it to my TBR list without reading the synopsis. I'm pretty sure the only reason I haven't read the others is because then I'll have no KWest books left. And we can't have that.


9. Maggie Stiefvater
I've read: The Raven Cycle 1-3.
Haven't read: Everything else.

I still have only read her Raven Boys series, but I have a strong feeling I'd love any of her books. And I'm planning on picking them up at the library soon so I can test that! Also, she is hilaaaaarious on social media. I especially love following her Twitter feed because that shit is gold.


10. Brighton Walsh
I've read: Captive and Caged in Winter.
Haven't read: the rest.

Ever since I read CiW, I've been obsessed with Brighton Walsh (that sounds creepy but you know what I mean). She has such lovely writing, and I adore her characters. They're always so realistic and genuine, complex and contradictory. They're relatable and real. And also she has some HOT AS HELL heroes! 


Honorable mentions (because I can't NOT): Leigh Bardugo and Katie McGarry.

*****

Who are YOUR all-time favorite authors? Your auto-buys and ones whose books you add to your TBRs without even glancing at the synopsis? Lemme know! :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Woes of Commenting

Hey guys! What's up? How's life? Tell me everything! No but seriously, I feel like I've been anti-social on my blog lately, and I hate that. I mean, I've been around on Twitter. But on my blog? Not so much. I've been posting less as I'd have liked this month, and there are a few reasons which I would rather not get into at the moment (I'm sort of in a limbo with something right now, and I don't know how to move forward yet). I think they've really stifled my creativity, and finding the energy to write up posts has suffered in response. I don't want to take another break, but I'm not going to make myself blog if I'm not feeling it. However, not only does this affect how and WHAT I put out on the blog, but it also affects my commenting skills.

First of all, I AM NOT IGNORING YOU. I promise! I have left SO many posts un-replied since the new year has started, and I hate that I did that. I hate the thought of even one of you thinking I didn't care. BECAUSE I DO. Your comments on my blog mean the world to me! I read and appreciate every single one of them. Your comments are what have kept me going when I've thought about quitting before. Even though I've struggled with the commenting and the posting these last few months, you guys have still stuck by me and haven't stopped reading my blog. And that means so much to me! I promise I'll start replying (and I have, for the most part, up until the last few posts) again soon. I'll try to do it quicker too, especially if you ask me a question or want to know something. I just wanted you to know that I've read your comments and I've loved them, even if I never replied.

Secondly, my visiting and reading and commenting of other people's blogs has also taken a toll. And I am SO very sorry if I haven't commented on your blog in awhile! I didn't suddenly just decide that I would no longer read your posts because I hate them and think you suck (I don't think any of you suck; in fact, I think you're all AWESOME). I've been reading a lot of posts, but I haven't been commenting. Usually, it's because I catch many posts at work, but I don't have the time to respond. And if I don't RT them on Twitter, I forget about them later so easily (my memory really sucks sometimes). And also, honestly? When I'm stressed, I back away. I become anti-social. School has taken a lot out of me this semester, but so has life in general. I know it's not really an excuse, since a meaningful comment doesn't take more than a few minutes to type out. But when you just don't have the motivation and energy and desire to do it? You start lacking, and the guilt becomes almost too much.

The dearest Kaitlin (Reading is My Treasure) wrote a wonderful post about commenter's guilt. It is everything I feel and need to remember. If we feel this guilty about our shortcomings, then that means we care. We care about our followers, we care about making sure our favorite blogs know how much they mean to us. We care that we're not doing enough. But the problem is: what measure are we looking at? Who determines "enough"? Who says we've been terrible bloggers? No one! I'm putting so much pressure on myself. No one has demanded more of me than I've wanted to give. No one has demanded that I reply to all of their comments. No one has demanded I visit their blog and comment on every single one of their posts. I need to remember this: I can't do everything, and that's okay! I can grumble about how much time and energy I don't have all I want, but it's not going to change a thing. This stress, this sense of guilt and blame, is only hindering my blogging. It's only hurting myself. I can apologize about this until I'm blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is: no one is telling me I need to say "I'm sorry."

So many of us talk about the woes of commenting. We make ourselves feel guilty about something that we shouldn't have to feel bad about. *I* make myself feel guilty. I mean, I do feel incredibly bad about not replying because I enjoy it when bloggers comment back and a lot of the times, I'll check their posts to see if they did (but there is that handy email thing that lets me know when they do). Also like I said above, I don't want anyone to feel like I don't care about their comments! And I do want to start socializing and commenting more, but I have to remind myself that it's okay if I don't. It's okay that I can't do it all. And it's okay if I need to take a step back.

But right now I currently have a sucky system for finding posts and commenting, so I'm trying to make it better. I think I'm going to use Bloglovin' again, so that way I can have more blogs than just a certain number on my sidebar. I *think* I can also separate them all into different groups, so I'll play around with all of that this weekend or the next. And that limbo I was talking about? Hopefully won't be around much longer. I'd like to start blogging more often, with enthusiasm and heart and passion that I've been sorely lacking the last few months. And I definitely won't stop visiting, commenting, and replying to your wonderful words. It just might be more sparse the next few weeks as finals approach. :)



I know I'm not the only one who suffers these woes and guilt when it comes to commenting. But my question for you is: how do you combat that? How do you not let it affect you? And for the love of God, how do you find the time to do it all? Share your secrets! :P

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Summer I Fell by Sonya Loveday


The Summer I Fell by Sonya Loveday
(The Six #1)
Release Date: July 27th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:
“So you wanna be part of the Six, huh? You wish…”
~Jared, Ace, Mark, Josh, Aiden & Eli

Riley Clifton can’t remember a time when she wasn’t a part of the Six, a group of rowdy boys who would do just about anything for her. Growing up alongside of six guys is never easy. Especially in high school. Falling in love with one of the Six? Even harder when Ace has a hold of her heart, and he doesn’t even know it.

Jake (Ace) Aceton has loved Riley for a long time, but has kept the secret oath of the Six. Riley was off limits. At least until after graduation. When he overhears Riley admitting to her best friend, Paige how she feels about him, Ace doesn’t let his chance slip by. Riley, in his mind, has always been his.

When her college plan falls through, and her future is left to the hands of fate, Riley finds herself scrambling to keep up with all the changes. But that’s not the hardest part. The hardest part is saying good-bye, especially to Ace.

Heartache, hard lessons, and a love deeper than her Alabama roots will threaten to crumble Riley’s world as she waits for Ace’s return.

Will Riley and Ace’s love be strong enough to hold them together when life tries to tear them apart?


Purchase

Purchase book 2

****

Excerpt!
THE ENTIRE SOUTH FIELD OF the Jacksons property was dotted with the graduating class of 2014. Caps and gowns were shed as the celebration carried over with groups of people, cars, and radio stations all competing to be heard. That was, until the boys rolled up. They had a way of making any social setting gravitate to what they were doing. Radios were lowered or turned off when Aiden Jacobson, Mark Stevens, Josh Howard, Jake Aceton, Jared Jackson, and Eli Benton—the Sexy Six, as every girl in my high school called them, had arrived. The rest of us just called them the Six.
I never understood why everyone was drawn to the sight of them, but it was comical to watch.
Eli was rushed by an already drunk underclassman who had somehow managed to tag along at our last hoorah. He pried her off him and ran his hands down his chest with a laugh, as the others busted his ass at what they’d witnessed. The catcalls were intense as she trailed her hand down his chest. He caught her by the wrist before she got past the button on his jeans. “All right, someone come get jailbait before shit gets outta hand,” Eli called out.
She turned her face, and I chuckled when I realized who she was. Kayla Roberts had been trying, unsuccessfully, all year to break into the Six, and they weren’t having any of it. Desperate, clingy girls were something they stayed far away from. Kayla’s sister, Rachel, marched over, yanked her from Eli, and dipped her head in his direction as she hauled her drunken sister off at a fast clip.
The guys busted out laughing. Aiden yelled above the noise, “Someone put some music on. Damn, this ain’t no party!” 
It was instantaneous. Luke Bryan’s voice belted out of someone’s truck, and the party came alive. 
I watched all of this from the back of my truck, as I sat on the tailgate and kicked my feet. 
Mark broke off from the group first, jingling his keys as he spoke to Jake. They turned in a full circle until Jake looked over to me and pointed with a smile. Mark looked at where he gestured, picking up his hand in a quick wave. I saluted him with my Dr. Pepper can. He shook his head with a smile, turned back to Jake, and then took off across the field.
I wondered what that was about, but knew better than to let my imagination run too wild. Knowing those boys, there was no telling. 
I hadn’t even planned to come. There really wasn’t any reason for me to be there. My circle was a small one. The guys and Paige Holton were my only real friends. It wasn’t because I was stuck up. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I’d outgrown this small town long ago. I just didn’t feel the need to make any forming or lasting relationships with anyone when I hadn’t planned to stick around.
Everything I’d worked so hard for had crashed and burned around me. I couldn’t help but feel extremely jaded by the whole experience, but I was a fighter, and I’d keep pushing forward until I made my own way. Whatever way that might be.
I leaned forward and studied my favorite boots. They were worn in all the right places, fitting my feet like a glove. I hardly wore anything else. Tennis shoes were impractical for my day-to-day life. Or rather, they were. What the hell was I supposed to do? I’d counted on the full-ride scholarship, was all but promised it for so long, and it had all been taken away as if I’d only imagined it. And really, hadn’t I?
Vet school was the one thing that I hoped would get me out of Opp, and it was gone. It seemed this small town in Alabama had her hold on me.
“Got any more of those?” Jake’s voice rumbled into my thoughts about the same time as I heard my cooler slide down the inside of the truck bed. I peered at him over my shoulder, as the cooler creaked open. 
“Help yourself,” I said, tossing a heavy dose of sarcasm in my reply.
Jake snorted as he pulled an icy can out and slammed the lid closed. He lifted the bottom of his shirt to wipe the top and then hopped up on the tailgate to sit beside me. My breath caught at the sight of his sculpted stomach, and I bit my lip to restrain a groan. It had become harder to hold back my instant reaction to him when he did things like that. “You’re supposed to be happy.” He quirked his eyebrow at me and popped the can open. His other hand lifted and flicked the icy remains at my face. Cold droplets of water splattered against my heated skin. 
Jake, better known as Ace because his last name was Aceton, dodged the sideways punch I aimed at him. He put his hands up in mock surrender and chuckled. “Seriously though, tonight’s all about freedom. Taking it all in and having a little fun. School is over, our diplomas are in hand, and we’re one step closer to getting out of here.” He flinched when he realized what he said and went to apologize.
“Don’t Ace, I didn’t take it personal. And I promise that I’ll try to have fun.” I lifted the hem of my shirt up and rubbed it against my face, feeling the night air touch my side where the material rode up. Swearing I heard a quick intake of breath come from beside me, I darted my eyes over to him, but he wore his usual grin on his face as his eyes twinkled.
He lifted the can to his lips, pulled it down, and glanced sideways at me. “You better, or I swear we’ll do what we said we’d do.”
I swallowed hard. The Six had pulled rank with me, saying I was to be at the party and I was to have a good time, or they’d carry me off to old man Willis’ pond and toss me in without my clothes. I scowled at Ace and crossed my arms. “And how do you propose that’s going to go? Because I can assure you that none of y’all will get anywhere near close enough to me to remove a stitch of clothing, let alone throw me into that disgusting ass, bacteria-filled pond.” 
He wiggled his eyebrows at me, as his lips pulled into a mischievous grin. Suddenly, a hand clamped down on my shoulder. I’d been so focused on Ace that I hadn’t seen Jared walk around the other side of my truck. “Already being a party pooper, Riles?”
I grimaced. If anyone would follow through with the threat, it would be Jared. He was the craziest of the Six. I plastered an over-dramatic smile on my face and turned to look at him, even tossing in a little eyelash flutter. “I have no idea what you mean, Jared.”
He shook my shoulder and pushed me over so that I sat in between the two of them. I gripped my Dr. Pepper can tighter and tried to stay aloof. It was hard to act that way when threatened by the Six, however. Jared grabbed the can from my hands and finished it off in one swig. “Oh, gross, that was warm as hell.” 
I leaned back a little to look at him. “I’d say it serves you right for taking my soda when there’s a whole cooler full of them back there.” I jerked my thumb to the bed of the truck. 
His eyes widened, and he leaned back to drag the cooler closer to him. Opening the lid, he hooted with laughter. “See, I knew we kept you around for a reason!” He pulled out the first can his hand touched and held it out to me. I took it from him, as he dug around in the ice. I should have known better. No one kept their back turned to Jared. He was the first one to pull a prank on you. When Ace chuckled, I knew I was in for it. Jared was lightning fast and before I knew it, I had a handful of ice shoved down the back of my shirt. He made sure to catch it between my shirt and my back. A sharp hiss of air escaped my lips, and I bowed forward to get away from the arctic cold melting against my skin. Ace hopped down off the tailgate and caught me before I could jump off to get away. 
“Where ya gonna go, Riley?” Ace tormented me with a smile on his face. They meant no harm. If anything, they thought of me as one of their own, so the chances of ever having a boyfriend around the Six were nill.
“That’s not fu…” I squealed when Jared rubbed his hand back and forth, spreading the chunk of ice against my lower back. Cold water seeped past the waistband of my jeans and trailed down the center of my backside. 
Jared laughed when I all but slammed into Ace to get away from him. “You’re a damn jerk, Jared.” 
His hand shoved at the ice, dragging it across my back, leaving a trail of red-hot pain. I jerked, as I slammed my lips on a howl of pain. Jared snatched his hand away. “Oh shit! Riley, are you okay?” 
He yanked his hand back, and the chunk of ice fell to the truck bed. I grabbed it and went to toss it to the ground, but Ace’s hand shot out, catching it before it toppled out of my hand. 
“Blood?” He lifted the piece higher to look at it. 
Jared bit out a curse beside me. “Damn, Riley. I’m so sorry. Sometimes, I forget you’re a girl.”
I turned to look at him with complete disbelief etched on my face. “What, the boobs didn’t give me away?” 
He shook his head and instantly blushed. Leave it to Jared to get embarrassed by the word ‘boobs’.
“Here, let me…” He lifted the back of my shirt, but I twisted out of his grip. 
“No, Jared. It’s bad enough the shit those girls say about me because of you guys. The last thing I need is more gossip about how you got my shirt up at a party.”
He flinched away. “Yeah, sorry. But seriously, what do you care what those bitches think? I sure as hell don’t.”
He grabbed the soda he’d pulled out for me and cracked it open, chugging half the can. When he pulled it away, he covered his mouth on a loud belch.
“You’re never gonna change,” I said with sigh. 
I flicked a glance at Ace, who still stood in front of me, almost wedged between my knees. There was a look on his face that I couldn’t quite read. His eyes shifted from mine, and he pegged Jared with a dirty look. “Can you try to control yourself for the rest of the night? I promised her dad I’d take care of her tonight, and we’re starting off on the wrong foot already.”
Jared brought his hand up and touched his pinky with his thumb. It was their odd symbol for being part of the Six. When you held your hand up in front of you, it sort of looked like one. They used it as a gesture of brotherhood, or some such thing like that. Ace’s shoulders slumped into a relaxed position, and he nodded.
“Riley, are you okay? Do you want me to see if one of the girls will look at it for you?” Ace asked as he tossed the ice to the ground.
“I’m fine. I’m sure it’s just a scratch. Don’t worry about it.” I shrugged my shoulders and felt the spot where the ice had dug into my flesh. No way would I let on how bad it hurt.
“Hey jackasses, what’s going on over here?” Aiden strutted over and pegged me with a questioning glare. “Hmmm… is Little Miss Riled-up all set for a swim already?” Before I could tell him to keep his ass away from me, Eli strode over. 
“Mark’s gonna back his truck up over here, so be ready to unload some wood, dickhead.” He followed up his statement by punching Aiden in the shoulder. Eli darted out of the way when Aiden lunged at him. Before they could tackle each other, Mark’s truck was backed in, and Josh walked over to open the tailgate. 
“Hey, knock it off you two and help me get this unloaded.” Josh shook his head and pulled an armload of wood out of the back of the truck. The driver’s side door slammed shut, and Mark rounded the front and beelined for the bed of mine. The cooler lid creaked open once again as he tossed cans to Aiden, Eli, and Josh. He fished one out for himself and closed the lid with a thump. “Gotta love our Riley. She takes good care of us.” He shot a smirk at me, downed the entire can, crushed it in his hands, and tossed it into the back of my truck. 
I found myself chuckling at him, as he shot me a wink. “You’re a bunch of freakin’ animals. I swear!”
The cacophony of noises that came from them could rival a barnyard. Some moo’ed, some oinked, and one of them belted out a rooster crow. I ran my hands down my face. The Six were nothing but a bunch of unruly little boys that never grew up. 
Ace moved from his spot in front of me and walked over to help finish unloading the pile of wood in the bed of Mark’s truck.
Jared slid off the tailgate and stopped beside me. He tapped my knee and when I looked up at him, he gave me a weary smile. “Sorry about that, Riles. You know I wouldn’t intentionally hurt you, right?”
I gave him a smile. “I know, Jared. I’m okay, don’t worry about it.”
He kicked his shoulder up in a half shrug. “You might think you’re tough, but I know I hurt you. If you want one of us to look at it, we can do it where no one can see.” There was a glimmer of honesty in his eyes. I knew that all I needed to do was say the word and one of them would do just that. After all, they’d been taking care of me for a long time. Whether I wanted them to or not.
“I’m okay, Jared. Honest.”
He dipped his head and left me sitting on the tailgate.
Daylight was slowly waning as the Six unloaded the last of the wood and stacked logs for a bonfire. It was nights like these that made me happy. If only we could minus out the rest of the senior class, it would be perfect.
The guys were pros at building a decent fire, and they all took turns keeping it burning. It was like an unspoken rule between them. Some sort of Six code. They had lots of codes they stuck by, but they never talked about. And I had a feeling one of those had something to do with me. 
I slid a glance over to where Ace stood beside the unlit fire. He pulled out a small gas can, poured a stream out on the logs, and walked back over to the truck to put it away. I couldn’t tell you who lit the fire, but I heard the gas ignite and saw the outline of the flames dance along the back of Ace’s gray T-shirt. I jerked my gaze away from him when he turned, looking back down at my boots. If I didn’t stop watching him, someone would catch me, and I’d never live it down.


LUKE BRYAN’S VOICE CROONED ON about a girl, and how she could crash his party anytime. For a second, I closed my eyes and let the song carry me away to my latest daydream of Ace. His voice broke through my carefully constructed moment. 
“Are we boring you?” he asked, sliding back onto my tailgate beside me. I hadn’t moved since I’d been shoved to the middle by Jared. When Ace’s thigh brushed mine, my eyes popped open, and I shivered from the contact.
He bumped his shoulder into mine. “You okay?” 
I bit my cheek and held back a hiss of pain. The ice Jared had tortured me with sure did a number on my skin.
I jerked my head up and down, drawing his attention away from me by pointing to the fire. “I swear if I didn’t know better, I’d say you guys were Boy Scouts at one time.”
He looked over to where the others stood talking around the fire. “Yeah, well, what can I say? We’re all a bunch of fire bugs.” 
He laughed at what he said, knowing full well that once the summer was over, he’d be stepping into a job with the Forestry Division. That meant he’d be busting people like himself soon. Wherever the Six were, you could guarantee there’d be a bonfire of some sort, and it didn’t matter where. 
“So what are your plans this summer?” he asked.
Before I could reply, a high-pitched voice interrupted us. Samantha Sloan sauntered over in her skin-tight jeans and cling-wrap shirt that dipped low in the front to give any and all a view of her very ample chest. She batted her heavily mascaraed eyelashes to draw focus to her light blue eyes. When Ace looked at her, she flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder. “She’s finally leaving and then maybe one of you lucky boys will look in another direction.” 
I let the comment slide. At no point had I ever been the reason why none of the Six dated her. She loved saying stupid things like that when they were within earshot. 
I waited. One of them was bound to acknowledge her. When they didn’t, she turned her focus to me. “So where’s your other half?” She must have found her joke funny because she snorted out a squealed sort of laugh.
I arched a brow up at her. “Other half?”
She tossed her hand in the air. “Oh please, we all know you use them,” she gestured at the guys, “as a cover to being a lesbo with your girlfriend.”
Ace stiffened beside me, and the others stopped talking mid-sentence. I hadn’t really looked at her until then and when I did, she backed up a step. 
“What bothers you the most, Sam?” She cringed at the nickname. “Is it the fact that none of them will sleep with you? Or that you want to sleep with me?”
Laughter erupted around us, and Samantha fisted her hands at her sides. “You’re probably fucking all of them. That’s how you keep them close, right? How does that work, Riley? One every night and then a break on Sunday? Or is Sunday the day you sleep with your bestie?”
I flew off the tailgate before Ace could stop me. My fist shot out and slammed into Samantha’s eye. She staggered backwards, tripping over her own feet. I hauled her up by her shirt, as the guys circled around me. They weren’t letting anyone past them. They knew I’d finally had enough of Samantha’s hateful comments and had even asked me when I’d planned to kick her ass.
When I’d straightened her back up, she slapped my hand away. “How dare you?”
“How dare I? You just can’t keep your mouth shut, and I’m done listening to your bullshit.” I shoved her, and she stumbled back a step. 
Her lip curled, and I knew whatever she was about to say would seal her fate with me. I’d had enough of her snide comments and her bullying ways. I would put an end to it once and for all.
“You are, aren’t you? You’re sleeping with all of them!” Her shrill voice carried over the quiet night, and I hissed between my teeth when I realized that even the damn radio had been shut off. 
The guys had promised that if it ever came to setting Samantha in her place, they’d let me do what needed to be done. By the looks of it, they were having a hard time keeping that promise. Eli had a hold of Josh’s arm, and Aiden had his arm out in front of Jared. Mark and Ace kept shooting glances at each other. I waited until they looked at me and shook my head. I was over Samantha dragging my name through the mud because none of them were interested in her. 
She shot forward and I dodged her hand, but her intent wasn’t to punch me. No, she went for the low-ball move and grabbed my ponytail. I swore under my breath, brought my arm up between us, and pulled my head back with everything I had. When there was enough room between us, I shoved her away. Excited chatter rolled around us. Her friends cheered her on, telling her to ‘take care of that whore,’ and other hate-filled comments that insinuated my reputation was no better than a hooker’s.
Samantha laughed and tossed her hands out to the side. “Look at you. I don’t know what I was thinking. Who the hell would sleep with you?” She picked up her hands and swept them in the air from my feet to my chest. “You have nothing there for them to hold on to, and you sure as hell don’t look like you could keep up with them.” The girls around the circle laughed, as she pointed out all of my flaws to the entire senior class. It hit me wrong, and I let a telltale wince slip across my face.
“Oh, look, she realizes it, too!”
I didn’t mean to, but I looked up at Ace. My eyes darted away, but I saw the anger that shimmered there. He was as pissed as I was.
She cocked her hip out and ran her hand down her side to accentuate her voluptuous shape. “Men want something they can hold on to and well, sweetie, you just don’t fall into that category, do you?”
I could feel the darkness creeping up on me as anger turned to rage. It consumed me until there was only tunnel vision between her and me. She snickered and pointed past me. “Ah, there she is.”
I swung my gaze over to where Paige pushed past Aiden and walked into the circle. Her eyes were wide, and she darted a glance between Samantha and me. A look of complete disbelief was etched across her face. 
“Come on, Riley. She’s not worth it.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me back a step. I tugged myself free of her grasp and looked over to Aiden. He stepped up and pulled Paige back, putting her behind him. I could hear the angry tone in their voices as he whispered a warning that she didn’t like.
“Aw, your girlfriend tried to keep you from getting your ass beat. Isn’t that cute?” The cooing tone to her voice destroyed the last bit of self-control I had, and I lunged for her. I didn’t care if her daddy was the sheriff—that bitch was gonna get it. I’d had enough.

****

AUTHOR BIO:

Sonya Loveday, first and foremost is a reader, an avid one. It is of that love that brought her to purchasing her first laptop in 2009, and publishing her first novel, Casted, in 2013.

In early 2014, Sonya expanded Casted and then went on to publish Spelled, the sequel to Casted, in March, wrapping up the series, and her stint with Paranormal Romance. For now.

Not long after the completion to the Casted Series, Sonya tried her hand at New Adult/Coming of Age, a sub-genre of Contemporary Romance. Thusly, the Six were born with The Summer I Fell, which released at the end of July 2014. The demand from readers was instantaniously, which brought about End Note, the second book of the series in December 2014.

To date, Sonya lives in Central Florida with her husband, and two kids, and is currently working on her fifth book set to release later this spring 2015.

Author Links:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Underrated NA Recommendations

I am not at ALL surprised that my NA underrated list has the most books on it. I read SO many of them, and oh boy, do I have a lot of recs for you! Hehe. :)

The Disappearing Girl and Falling for Autumn by Heather Topham Wood
The first book = MC with an eating disorder! I'm not sure about you, but I haven't read enough books with characters who have eating disorders. And I thought this one was very good! The second book = a tragic situation and learning to overcome it. 

Deeper and Harder by Robin York
A badass heroine, a complicated hero, and a love that is intense and true and romantic. <--that is my pitch. 

The Darkest Part by Trisha Wolfe
This book was very emotional and suuuuch a wonderful story about overcoming tragedy and moving on with your life after grief.

The Deep End of the Sea and The Collectors' Society by Heather Lyons
Oh my gosh, I absolutely adored this mythological NA book! GIMME MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS, PLEASE! Also, the second book is an Alice in Wonderland retelling, and it is so. good!

Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick
I loved these characters and their lives, and I adored this romance.

Charmed by Cambria Hebert
I don't know if this is either NA or Adult, but it's SO freaking good! I loved how the romance intertwined with the grim reaper story-line.

Flame by Brooke Cumberland
Three words: BRITISH DIRTY TALKER. ;)

Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters
I know she's a best-selling author, but I think this book is so underrated! It has an unlikable heroine, a love interest with Asperger's, and is about finding love with the unlikeliest of people.

Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney
The only mystery NA I've read, which has gotta change! This wasn't perfect by any means, but it has potential. And I really liked it.

Caged in Winter and Captive by Brighton Walsh
You guys know how obsessed with Brighton Walsh I am, right? Oh, you didn't? Well, now you do! :P but seriously, I love her books and will push them onto anyone who will listen (and even those who won't).

Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert
This book had its ups and downs, but I really enjoyed it!

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
A very well-written M/M story with a realistic male narrator!

Rules of Survival by Jus Accardo
This book was a lot of fun and had great banter between the two main characters!

SERIES!
Finding Fate by Chelsea Fine
Seriously, you want recommendations? I will forever champion Chelsea Fine's books. READ THEM PEOPLE! (also, BKOB is still my fave but I love the whole series).

Off by Sawyer Bennett
I love, love, love this series! Love my hockey players and I love the women who don't take their shit. :) (also, there are like 7 books in this series, but the 3 above are my favorites). (also I still hate the cover redesigns, except Off the Record's, so if anyone can help me find the purple cover edition of Off Course, I will love you forever).

Addicted by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Okay, so it has a little over 10,000 ratings, but I think this series is very underrated! Granted, I have still only read the first book, but I know I'm going to love the rest! I just need to find the time for an Addicted weekend. 

Never Say Never by C.M. Stunich
Gosh, it's been FOREVER since I've read this series, but I still remember it well. It was dark, gritty, and with two characters who have been through a lot but who find a light within each other.

The Legends Saga by Stacey Rourke
This series is SO unique, and it's very light on the romance. So I would rec' this to people who aren't huge fans of NA or want to try more. (Hey, even Val liked it, so you know it's good). Gimme more NA books that AREN'T romances, please!

*****

What are some of YOUR favorite underrated NA books? REC' ME PLEASE I NEED MORE ALWAYS MORE. :D

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

10 Underrated YA Standalone Novels

I meant to post this last week, but I just didn't feel like pushing to write posts (because when I do that, it feels more like work than fun). But I'm back with another underrated list for y'all! If you're wondering why I'm talking about lists, here is the first post and why I decided to debunk BuzzFeed's article. And this time, I'm doing it with YA standalone novels!

I thought I would have more, but apparently not. I read from a wide range of genres and categories, and sadly, YA is not the most popular one for me. So I don't have many for you down below, but of these, they are ones I really loved and would recommend to anyone who enjoys YA books that aren't part of a series. :)

*these are all under 10,000 ratings on Goodreads*


1. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
This book was short but packed a powerful punch! It's one of the most realistic novels I've read set in high school, and the teen voices are very genuine.

2. Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
This book doesn't have your typical female MC, which I looooved. And it was a very emotional and wonderful story about mental illness and not letting yourself be defined by it.

3. Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah
Oh gosh, this book was twisted and threw out so many surprises. And I loved that it had an unreliable narrator.

4. Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
I really, really enjoyed this book! I thought it was very unique, and it was A LOT darker and more grim than I thought it would be. But that element was perfect for the story. (There is a prequel novella, but this by itself, is a standalone--at least I think so).

5. The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
One word: MICHAAAAAAH. <3

6. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
I thought this was such a fun, adorable story! It had a banter-filled romance, and a kickass heroine!

7. Of Beast and Beauty and Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
I love, love, love Stacey Jay's books and I think she's such an underrated author! Her two fantasy novels above are especially awesome.

8. Play On by Michelle Smith
This book was AMAZING! It was everything I never knew I wanted in a story. It's not going to hit people as hard as me, but I think everyone should read this! (I know it's not even out yet, but whatever). <3

9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Okay, I FINALLY read this book last weekend, and I loved it! I had a huge problem with the slut-shaming, and the MC wasn't exactly the best person in the world. But there was a wonderful journey here. :)

Bonus: Oh, and I want to add this MG book on the list! Even though I'm not a fan of the genre, I really enjoyed this one! It was gorgeous and a lot darker than I thought it would be.

*****

So, what are some of YOUR favorite YA standalones? I want recommendations! :)